How to Hire a Demand Generation Expert – When You Don’t Know What You’re Looking For
There are two types of scenarios I run into most frequently when filling demand gen positions. The first usually involves Series A, B, or C startups needing someone to build out a process for their demand generation machine. They typically have a CRM and maybe a marketing automation platform (MAP) in place, but they’re not using all of its capabilities—they need someone to help them build the machine. The second scenario usually happens with more established businesses looking to transform their sales and marketing from traditional to digital. These companies typically have a BDR team qualifying leads for sales executives, but they’re tracking everything manually. For them, it’s about re-tooling the machine and changing their way of thinking.
As you can obviously tell, the biggest difference between these two types of scenarios are the actual companies that I’m working with. However, the biggest similarity with these two types of situations is the type of skill set they’re looking for…..someone that’s half player, half coach. In other words, not only can this person develop strategy, but they also need to be able to get into the weeds if necessary.
We all know that understanding the actual problem is the only way to find a proper solution, so whether I’m dealing directly with the CEO of a startup or hiring manager I start my intake there in order to gauge what they’re looking for in a hire. I know I have my work cut out for me when the job description is a mile long, and contains every digital marketing buzzword known to man. Here’s an example….
“We need an SEO/SEM expert that can write content, integrate our tech stack, create campaigns in (insert marketing automation tool here), handle all of the reporting and analytics, and build out our Account-Based Marketing (ABM) model. They won’t have anyone on their team right away, and oh-by-the-way they also need to be able to hold their breathe for 11 minutes while juggling chainsaws on a unicycle.”
….I might’ve added the last part.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredibly talented marketers out there, but that’s a pretty steep workload.
So how do I know what to look for?
Ok, back to the title of the blog. The best way for a company to figure out precisely the skill set they need in new employee is to understand the actual problem (as stated above) that they’re trying to solve. What’s NOT happening?
- Are you not getting enough leads?
- Are the quality of the leads you’re getting not good enough?
- Are you having an issue converting leads to opportunities?
- Are you losing business because you’re focusing on the wrong leads/opportunities?
- Are you having and issue with your reporting/analytics?
Ok, let’s be honest. I literally just rattled off major issues for every organization.
- There are NEVER enough leads.
- The leads are NEVER good enough.
I could go on, but you get my point. It’s important to identify your most central need when looking to hire a demand gen professional. You can break it down to these three common problems and the subsequent hiring solution. What does your company most need?
Quantity of leads: If you’re not getting enough leads, you need someone that’s an expert in Customer Acquisition (SEO/SEM). Above all, this individual will help drive traffic to your website, webinars, whitepapers, etc.
Quality of leads: If you’re having issues with the quality of your leads and converting them to opportunities, you need someone that’s a lead generation expert. Someone who has experience creating personas, omni-channel campaigns, content and engagement strategy, and more.
Process of leads & Reporting: If sales is focusing on the wrong leads or you’re having an issue getting a handle on your reporting, you need someone that’s an expert in Marketing Operations/Programs. These are very data-driven people, and very technical. They’re in your CRM and MAP every day building out workflows to nurture and score leads. They handle your lead management process and building dashboards for reporting.
Yes, it’s possible for someone to have a solid understanding of everything I’ve listed above. However, even if they’re willing to take on the role, asking them to develop strategy and then execute everything from scratch is going to take time. If the concept of Demand Generation is new to your company, I’d advise you not to try and tackle it all at once. In my experiences with companies that tried to do that, I find many of them wind up disappointed.
A machine has to be built piece by piece.
If your company needs help finding the right talent, contact us today! For more career tips and advice check out Versique’s blog.
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